Kim Kelly, Michael, Amazon discussed on Democracy Now! Audio
Joe by liz fair. This is democracy now democracy. Now dot org the quarantine report. I mean goodman juan gonzalez. The final week of voting has begun in one of the most closely watched union elections in decades amazon workers in bessemer alabama are voting on whether to join the retail wholesale and department store union. That's the are wd. Esu and become the first unionized amazon warehouse in the united states. Voting ends march. Twenty ninth ballots have been sent to nearly six thousand workers. Most of whom are black. Amazon has fought labor organizing at the company for decades but bloomberg is reporting amazon workers in baltimore new orleans portland. Denver and southern california are now also. Considering launching union drives nationwide amazon is over one point three million employees making it. The second largest private workforce in the united states behind walmart the unionization effort in alabama has attracted widespread support even from president biden today and over the next few days a weeks. Workers in alabama and all across america are voting whether to organize a union in their workplace. This is vitally important. A vitally important choice. As america grapples with the deadly pandemic the economic crisis in the reckoning on race what it reveals the deep disparities is still exist in our country and there should be no intimidation no coercion. No threats no anti union propaganda. Congress members corey bush jamaal bowman terri sewell and other lawmakers recently traveled to bessemer alabama to support the unionisation drive last week amazon worker jennifer bates. Who's hoping to organize investor. Mark testified before the senate behold with the union. We will have a level playing field. We hope we will be able to talk to someone at hr with that being dismissed. We hope that we will be able to risk war that there will be changed in the facility. Make some of the strengths of our bodies when we get a living wage. Not just amazon's minimum wage and be able to provide better for our families. We hope that they will start to hear us in sears. In like human beings it's frustrating. That all we want to make amazon. A better place to work yet amazon is acting like they are under attack. Maybe if they spent less time and money trying to stop the union they would hear what we're saying and maybe they would create a company that as good for workers in our community as it is for the shareholders and executives amazon worker jennifer bates testifying on capitol hill. This comes as a new study out today. From americans for tax fairness and the institute for policy studies has found amazon. Ceo jeff bezos has seen his personal wealth increased by sixty five billion dollars since the pandemic began a year ago that means basis as wealth increased on average by seven point four million dollars every hour for the past year. Meanwhile amazon workers investment in other locations are being forced to work ten shifts with just two fifteen minute bathroom breaks. We're joined now by two guests here in new york. Stuart applebaum us with us president of the retail wholesale and department store union and with us in bessemer alabama's michael foster member and organizer of the wd su. Who's helping to lead the amazon unionization drive. He's also a poultry plant worker. We welcome both democracy now. Michael great to have you back. Let's begin with you in bessemer in this last week. What message you putting out. And what are the tactics. Amazon is using to fight. The unionization effort ulcers right now is just to encourage the employees leagues to get a ballots out in the mail to mail them out. Because that's the only way that we allow voices to be heard and amazon tactics that are using standard steady. Going around from person to person Telling them you know to vote. No one in just doing a whole bunch of stuff. They're not handling cabinet meetings but they'll to individuals at a time and telling them these themes and stuart applebaum. I wanted to ask you a these statements by a president biden beef before the election as the election is unfolding. I don't recall president ever making a statement of any party before a major union drive in the country the impact of that and and biden stance so far on the right of of labor to organize. Hello everybody you're right. It's the most pro union pro worker statements that has ever been made by a president of the united states and that is so crucial and selection amazon is trying to intimidate workers. They want them to be afraid. And what president biden statement. Sarah's is that you may be up against perhaps the most powerful corporations world so wealthiest person in the world but the president of the united states has your back and sat as crucial for workers to be hearing. And i wanted to ask you a follow up on that. The national labor relations board the president biden won't be able to have a majority on the board until probably later this year because the terms are staggered. But he did a point that general council recently to the be that is much more pro labor. Could you talk about the impact. That's having on the potential for future union drives. I'd also much what is happening on this union as well because labor law in this country is tilted to save for employers and to make it difficult for workers to ever be able to achieve. And that's incredibly unfortunate. We saw that. The trump board often sought to make it even worse for workers trying to organize a lengthy time periods giving employers more time to try to intimidate interfere with workers. We meet sue. We need to change the way. We conduct union elections in this country and that needs to things it means. We need to have a board composed of people who are going to be supportive of. What is the policy. It's this country which is to promote collective bargaining unionization and it also means that we have to change the laws in this country that now make it so disa- cult for workers trying to get a collective sports to be able to achieve unionization. I wanna to turn to journalists. Kim kelly with more perfect union. Who produced a video report that shows the mail. Ballot dropbox has been placed right in front of the warehouse. Even though the national labor relations board said amazon could have won. This clip starts with.